During WWII, the depository safeguarded the U.S. Declaration of Independence as well as the U.S. Constitution. It also held the Magna Carta and other important historical documents. In addition to these sacred items, Fort Knox stored illegal substances during the war and into the Cold War. Synthetic painkillers were not yet invented, and the U.S. feared being cut off from its source of opium supply.
If you’re dreaming of touring the gold mecca, you can add that to your bucket list of “things that will never happen.” In its history, it was opened to the public only twice: once for the news media and the second time for Congress in 1974. And never again were its doors opened.
Inside the Fortress
Underneath the fortress-like building is the gold vault, lined with granite walls and protected by a blast-proof 20-ton door. Plus, Depository members will have to put in several number combinations known only to them. Beyond that door, you'll find smaller compartments for additional protection. The depository is surrounded by fences and guarded by a special U.S. Mint Police force, and due to its location within the army base Fort Knox, it has even additional security from Army members.
If you are crazy enough to try and break in, you will be met with a dozen different security measures. Tough luck trying to get past even just one of them. The security includes alarms, minefields, barbed razor wire, electric fences, cameras, and armed guards and for the grand finale, all of the Army units based at Fort Knox have gadgets like Apache helicopters ready at their disposal.
The Mormon Church Secret Vault
Just a short distance outside of Salt Lake City and one mile up Little Cottonwood Canyon lies Granite Mountain. Ironically, and despite its name, the place is composed mostly of quartz monzonite. Excavated 600 feet into the north side of Little Cottonwood Canyon is the Granite Mountains Record Vault, which the Mormon Church has ownership of.
A second vault is located two miles further up the canyon. But this vault is owned and run by Perpetual Storage Inc., and its purpose is for-profit. The vault serves multiple purposes, such as storage for records, a center for administrative offices, shipping and receiving docks, and a laboratory for restoring microfilm.
Granite Mountain Vault
Records stored in the Mormon Church’s Granite Mountain Record Vault include 2.4 million rolls of microfilm with around 3.5 billion images of family history and genealogical records. The vault's microfilm library increases yearly by up to 40,000 rolls. Now you know that when the Mormon Church says they’re a family-centered faith, they are by no means joking.
For clear security reasons, accessing the Granite Mountain Vault is forbidden. No matter how hard strong believers and regular curious people like you and us have tried, the no-entry sign is still standing high. Maybe in years to come, when there is world peace, they will be access to this place, too.
The Yanomami Village
This photo of a Yanomami village was captured by a helicopter. The villagers had probably never seen an aircraft before, as they were one of the most remote groups of people in the world. They are pictured here staring in wonder at the helicopter, probably positive they were gazing up at extraterrestrial beings from outer space.
The village is located on the Brazilian side of the Brazil-Venezuela border. Just think of it. You travel all the way to the south continent, you plan your trip in advance, and then discover no one is going to let you in. Next time, plan better.